Inspiring Young Change Makers

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The Inspiring Young Change-Makers project, supported through a DFID Development Awareness Fund Mini Grant, has worked with young people in Berkshire and Luton (Year 1) and Berkshire, West Berkshire and Oxfordshire (Years 2 and 3). Beneficiaries were:

  • 350+ young people engaged in Local to Global workshops and Eco-summits from  city centre uniformed and youth groups and schools in Luton and Reading to rural groups in Pangbourne, Whitchurch and Woolhampton. 
  • 260 young people engaged in critical thinking about global development and Climate Change issues through the Model UN Conferences in Reading, West Berkshire and Pangbourne (as part of the Eco-summit).
  • 200+ further young people, families and wider community members through their participation in or exposure to 10 micro-projects.

Many key businesses, local politicans, and relevant organisations have also been directly involved in the Eco-Summit and Model Conference events so broadening both awareness of the project and interest in the young people's ideas and motivations. ICN was delighted to work closely with the Luton Council Climate Change Team, Berkshire uniformed youth groups and the Pangbourne and Whitchurch Sustainability (PAWS) Education Committee to fulfil this project.

Activities

Workshop sessions

These sessions were facilitated by the UK ICN team have helped young people in Luton, Berkshire, West Berkshire and Oxfordshire explore issues around global implications of climate change.  They were based on 5 themed topics developed into Eco-Resource sheets:

Energy
Food
Inspiring the local community
Transport
Waste & recycling.

The sessions have been very successful in generating debate and interest in global issues.  Young people and their leaders in UK have looked enthusiastically at the action being taken by young people in Kenya and India to address the effects of climate change locally.

The team developed an Action Planning sheet which became a key tool for use with groups. The young people were facilitated to generate many ideas for action themselves, many of which could be taken forward into micro-projects.

Pangbourne and Whitchurch Eco-Summit

Held in March 2012, the Eco-Summit developed by this project working with PAWS Education Committee proved to be a unique opportunity.  It took place on a Friday evening during Climate Change Week and brought together over 45 young people from local schools (Bradfield College, Langtree School, Theale Green School) and uniformed organisations and youth groups in the area (1st Pangbourne Guides, JJs Youth Group).

Through a combined programme of Model Climate Conference, presentations from high profile speakers, and an action planning session using the Eco-Resource, it successfully made the transition from global issues to local action.  As local politicians had also been invited (Pangbourne and Whitchurch Village Planners and Alok Sharma, MP Reading West), the young people were able to make recommendations to them directly about how their ideas could be incorporated into local plans.  The same format will be used in the postponed Eco-Summit to be held in Langtree Secondary School in November 2013.

Model Climate Conferences

The project also tied in closely to the ICN initiative of Model Climate Conferences. Synergy was created by holding 5 events in the same areas: West Berkshire (11 July 2011), Reading (5 December 2011), the Pangbourne and Whitchurch Eco-Summit (16 March 2012), Reading x 2 Conferences (4 December 2012). They have directly complemented the project work by:

  • helping to broaden the reach to schools as well as informal groups
  • giving the participants opportunities to engage critically with global issues
  • acting as a show-case for activities in the region
  • bringing young people into direct contact with 'Change-Makers' from local, regional and national organisations.

Micro-projects

Here are ten micro-project activities generated by young people through this project:

  • Homegrown fruit and vegetable competition, Woolhampton Scouts
  • Making newspaper bags and beads and then holding a Recycled fashion show, 1st Pangbourne Guides
  • Creative 'vertical' vegetable garden, Redlands Primary School
  • An art project to celebrate water, Reading 3rd Caversham Beaver Colony
  • Welly planting, Thatcham 2nd Cubs
  • Africa Badge camp activities, Oxford Road Beavers
  • Model Climate Conference sharing - creating a large notice board display on campus and sharing outcomes on Facebook page, Sixth Form Centre, Reading College
  • Year 9 Climate Day, Leighton Park School
  • Establishing Energy Committee, Bradfield College
  • Planning a Hydro-Elective Turbine, Bradfield College

To see case studies of these ideas click here.

The 10 micro-projects also engaged a wider audience as the young people were able to share their work with:

  • their families, by taking home ideas and asking their families to get involved with the homegrown vegetables, welly planting and water gauge projects
  • their school communities, including the vertical vegetable gardens, Year 9 Climate Day, 6th Form Centre noticeboard, and Bradfield College Environment Committee and work on a Hydro-Electric Turbine
  • other young people and wider communities through the Oxford Road Beavers camp activities, art project in Sonning Library and Bradfield College YouTube publicity.

For further information please see project outcomes and the end of grant report.